November 14, 2011
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) joined others for a special ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of Kids Korner Waiting Room at VA Western New York Healthcare System in room 424A. Kids Korner opened in October, the first of three childcare pilot sites in the Nation, assisting with childcare for Veterans who have appointments at the Bailey Avenue site.
Children six weeks to 12 years of age can use the supervised waiting room. This free service provided by a childcare pilot program established by Congress as part of the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010. In a survey, VA found that more than 10 percent of Veterans had to cancel or reschedule VA appointments due to a lack of childcare.
“We’ve received rave reviews from parents and children since we began to offer this supervised childcare waiting room,” stated Kathy Smythe, Program Manager of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation New Dawn. “The staff of HANCI our childcare provider has a structured plan of activities while children wait.”
The new children’s waiting room is available weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. by calling (716) 862-8802 to make an appointment. Health Association of Niagara County Inc. (HANCI) offers the supervised care for children at the Kids Korner Waiting Room at the Buffalo site. They also currently operate the on-site childcare facility for Buffalo VA employees.
Other VA childcare pilot sites will open in Northport, NY and Puget Sound, Washington.